Pandit of Kashmir - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Pandit kinship is based on a well-articulated ideology of patrilineal descent. The widest category (maximal lineage) of agnates is called kol. In theory structural extension and territorial dispersal do not affect it. In practice, however, both these factors are important. Genealogical connections are rarely remembered beyond half a dozen generations. If collateral spread is combined with physical dispersal, interkin interaction and ultimately recognition fade away. The rule of gotra exogamy is sufficient protection against even an unwitting breach of the rule that agnates within six degrees of cousinship must not marry. Gotra refers to the ritual identification of families. While all families bearing the same gotra name are not agnatically related, all agnates invariably belong to the same gotra. The gotra and the kol are categories and not groupings of kin. The principal kin group is the extended family ( kotamb ), which has a core of agnatic kin, male and female, and includes the wives of the men.

Kinship Terminology. Kinship terms are of a descriptive type employing the following principal criteria of differentiation: gender, generation, and bilateral filiation. The only kin within two generations (ascendant or descendant) who are grouped together terminologically are the two sets of grandFathers and grandmothers. Age specification is achieved by prefixing words such as "older/elder" or "younger" to a kin term. Terms for Ego's spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, parents' siblings, first-degree cousins, first-degree cousins once removed, and parallel categories of the spouse's kin provide the core of the terminology.


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